MILWAUKEE -- After an explosion at a city-owned gas station caused him to lose both of his legs, Matt Felton is now on the road to recovery. And his family is helping him in a big way by trying to raise $100,000 for prosthetic legs.
Felton's van was parked at the pump at a Compressed Natural Gas station on the city's south side in July when the explosion happened. He and his childhood friend were both seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.
Now, two months later, his family is hoping to raise enough money to help him start this new chapter of his life.
"I have just a great group of friends and family, it's been amazing," Felton said.
His family organized a fundraising event held Sunday at The Grace Center downtown. It involved a silent auction and raffle.
Felton's positive attitude at the event was contagious as he said his recovery is going better than expected.
"We all have our different lots in life and this is just a new one that I have to deal with," he said.
He said the hardest part during his recovery has been the phantom pains. He says on a daily basis, he feels sharp, knife-like pains in his legs and feet, even after doctors amputated both legs from the knee down.
He says the accident is still under investigation and he hasn't even been able to see his van yet.
"I've probably been to that gas station hundreds of times without incident," he said. "At this point in time who knows what exactly happened."
He also said rumors that someone was smoking at the time are false. With that fateful day behind him, he's now focusing on where to go from here.
"This has really been a life changing event and I guess it's really helped me to focus on what's important, what I want to do with my life," he said.
Felton owns his own business and if not for the accident, he would be at Mount Everest right now with a group of friends.
But now he's focusing on new goals. With prosthetic legs, he will be able to get back to work and he hopes to spend more time on his art.
And his family is right along side him.
"They've done an amazing thing for me here by putting on this event and even more to come," he said. "I'm just really thankful to them and also thankful to God for bringing me through all this."
You can stay up to date with his progress by visiting the Matt's New Legs Facebook page. His sister says following the fundraising event on Sunday, they are about halfway to their goal.
Donations can be made by mail by sending a check payable to "Matthew Felton Special Needs Trust" established for Matt's benefit, to 13555 W. Deer Park Ct., New Berlin, WI 53151.
A Gofundme page has also been set up for online donations.